Nuclear Heart Imaging | Loyola Medicine

Nuclear Cardiology

Advanced Diagnostic Tests to Determine Molecular and Cellular Activity

Loyola Medicine’s multidisciplinary team of internationally recognized radiologists and cardiologists perform state-of-the-art diagnostic nuclear cardiac imaging. Loyola’s expertise in high-resolution imaging, including nuclear stress tests and PET scans (positron emission tomography), allows our world-class team of imaging specialists to see details and detect complications that might otherwise go undiagnosed. We provide imaging and consultation for the most severe cardiac cases, including complex arrhythmias and heart transplant candidates.
Loyola’s radiology team is skilled in nuclear imaging for diseases and conditions of the heart. Nuclear imaging is safe, non-invasive and provides clear images for accurate, precise diagnosis. This technology can aid your cardiologist in identifying coronary artery disease, detecting prior heart attacks and assessing resulting damage to the heart muscle. Nuclear imaging can also be used to evaluate a patient’s risk for future heart attacks. This imaging tool allows cardiologists to plan timely and effective treatment, including medication, angioplasty or bypass surgery

Nuclear imaging provides detailed pictures of what is happening inside the body at the molecular and cellular level. This technology uses tracers injected into the body to highlight areas of disease or abnormalities. Nuclear imaging is able to provide information that is unattainable with other imaging technologies or that would require more invasive procedures such as biopsy or surgery. It can also identify disease in its earliest stages and determine the exact location of a tumor, often before symptoms occur.

Why Choose Loyola for Nuclear Cardiology?

As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, comprehensive care to patients and trains future leaders in advanced nuclear cardiac imaging. Loyola is one of the few educational institutions in the country offering fellowships in cardiovascular imaging. We take a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Your entire Loyola healthcare team has one goal: restoring you to better health.

Loyola’s state-of-the-art equipment facilitates quicker and more effective image acquisition. Our expert radiologists are recognized nationally and internationally for clinical excellence, innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methods and skilled use of the latest technology. Our experienced technologists provide testing in a caring and compassionate environment where we want you to feel comfortable asking any questions you may have about your test or procedure. 

Electronic images are available to your doctors instantly through an electronic medical record system, allowing us to deliver timely, effective care to our patients. At Loyola, we understand the importance of continuity of care and will provide seamless communication with your doctor through our secure medical information portal, LoyolaConnect. You can also access results from your lab tests and evaluations through myLoyola

What Tests are Available with Nuclear Cardiac Imaging?

Loyola’s expert nuclear cardiac imaging team knows that early detection is the key to treating heart conditions successfully. We educate patients on the importance of reducing risk factors for heart disease and are experienced in using a variety of tools to detect, diagnose and treat a wide range of heart diseases and conditions. Nuclear imaging is non-invasive; these tests are easier on the patient and safe and effective in the diagnosis of a variety of heart conditions. 

Advanced nuclear cardiac imaging at Loyola includes:

  • Blood volume test — This procedure is used to measure the volume of blood in your body, in addition to the volume of plasma and red cells in the blood. A blood volume test also helps in the evaluation and treatment of hypertension and heart failure and may also be used in the evaluation of kidney dialysis.
  • Hemodynamic test — This procedure evaluates the function of the heart and circulation. Along with results from a blood volume test, heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, this test can help your doctor determine the cause of syncope or circulation disorders and develop a plan of treatment. Learn more about comprehensive hemodynamic evaluation.
  • Multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan — A MUGA scan creates video images of the heart’s ventricles to evaluate pumping function. This technology illustrates how the heart wall moves and how much blood is expelled with each heartbeat. This test allows your cardiologist to see any abnormalities in the size of the ventricles or in the movement of blood through the heart. A MUGA scan also allows your cardiologist to evaluate your heart’s function before and after chemotherapy.
  • Myocardial infarction scan Your cardiologist may request a myocardial infarction scan to identify a recent heart attack, define its size and location and determine prognosis.
  • Myocardial perfusion testing — This imaging study provides information about the pumping function of the heart, as well as areas of the heart with reduced blood flow. Myocardial perfusion testing can be used to pinpoint the location and severity of a heart attack, in addition to identifying blocked coronary arteries and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. It is also used to determine if a patient is at an increased risk for a heart attack or may need heart surgery.
  • Nuclear stress test — Your doctor may use nuclear stress testing to evaluate blood flow into the heart both at rest and during physical activity. It can be used to detect scarring of the heart muscle due to heart attack or reduced blood flow due to narrowed or blocked arteries. Learn more about cardiac stress tests
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography) — Loyola offers one of the world’s most sophisticated PET scanners for detecting cancer, heart disease and neurological problems. This non-invasive test provides your cardiologist with information about the flow of blood through the coronary arteries leading to the heart, as well as metabolic activity of the heart. It is a valuable tool in determining the best courses of treatment, including bypass surgery or angioplasty. It can also be used to diagnose myocardial perfusion.
  • Radionuclide ventriculography — This non-invasive study is used to provide information about the pumping function of the heart, as well as the valves of the heart and the integrity of the cardiac chambers. Your cardiologist may use this study to monitor the effects of drugs, such as chemotherapy, on the heart.
  • SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) — SPECT imaging is most commonly used to diagnose coronary artery disease. This nuclear imaging study may be combined with a cardiac stress test in order to show blood flow into the heart during physical activity. SPECT imaging can also be used to detect areas of dead or damaged heart muscle tissue, which may be the result of a heart attack or infection. 
  • Ventricular function test — This imaging study provides information on how well the heart is pumping blood through the ventricles.

State-of-the-Art Diagnostic Vascular Imaging for Cardiovascular Patients

Loyola provides diagnosis and treatment in outstanding, conveniently located facilities. We have multidisciplinary facilities at the Loyola University Medical Center campus, in addition to outpatient services at other locations. We offer specialized services to provide you with the most comprehensive care. 

Loyola offers a multidisciplinary team of internationally recognized radiologists and vascular specialists performing state-of-the-art diagnostic vascular imaging. Loyola’s vascular specialists use high-resolution imaging, including angiography and ultrasound, to evaluate the movement of blood and the health of the blood vessels. We provide imaging and consultation for the most severe vascular cases, including peripheral artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm and renal artery stenosis. Learn more about vascular imaging at Loyola. 

Ongoing Research and Clinical Trials to Advance Nuclear Cardiology

As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments. Loyola’s expert radiology team is actively pursuing new research, including studies on MRIs of patients with arrhythmias and heart failure. Several of our faculty also serve on the boards of leading scientific journals. Read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.